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Canucks wrap up trip in Toronto

by Deborah Francisco /

CANUCKS (18-11-2) AT MAPLE LEAFS (16-12-3)


LAST 10: Vancouver 7-2-1, Toronto 5-4-1

Season Series: This is the first meeting of two between the Canucks and the Maple Leafs this season. The Canucks won both games last season and have taken the last between the teams.

Big Story: The Canucks wrap up a five-game road trip that has seen them win two games in Canada and lose two south of the border, including Thursday's 4-3 defeat in Carolina. The Leafs are back home after Friday's 5-4 loss at Buffalo.

Team Scope:

Vancouver: After winning four straight, the Canucks have dropped the last two. Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo have been splitting time in net -- Schneider made 37 saves in Thursday's loss to the Hurricanes while Luongo has been in net for three of the Canucks' four wins in December.

Vancouver couldn't hole a 2-0 lead in Raleigh, and saw a late comeback come up short after the Hurricanes reeled off four unanswered goals.

"We had quite a few quality chances to put that game away, and we didn't," coach Alain Vigneault said. "Casual in front of their net, we weren't able to bury some grade-A scoring chances, made a couple of mistakes, and all of a sudden we're in penalty trouble and the score's 4-2 and it's really tough to come back in this league - especially against a world-class goaltender."

Toronto: The Leafs had their three-game winning streak snapped in Buffalo, largely because they filled the penalty box in the second period. The Leafs were assessed four minor penalties and a major to Dion Phaneuf, and the Sabres capitalized by scoring three times with the extra man to take a 4-2 lead the Toronto couldn't overcome.

"We've taken far too many penalties in the last two or three weeks," Toronto coach Ron Wilson said. "Penalty-killers taking penalties doesn't give you a chance."

James Reimer made 24 saves in his fourth straight start.

"I don't think I made enough saves," he said. "I feel like I let down the guys that worked their butts off. They scored four goals, and that should be enough to at least get a point."

Who's Hot: Ryan Kesler has at least a point in nine of his last 12 games. … Phil Kessel continues to lead the Maple Leafs with 37 points and has two goals and five points in five games.

Injury Report: The Canucks were without top scorer Daniel Sedin on Thursday due to back spasms; they hope he'll be ready for the Leafs. Vacnouver is playing without Aaron Volpatti, who is out for the season with a shoulder surgery David Booth is out until mid-January with a sprained knee last … The Leafs have been without defenseman Mike Komisarek and forwards Mike Brown and Matthew Lombardi for several weeks.

Stat Pack: The Canucks are 4-6-1 when Daniel Sedin doesn't score a point. ... Nikolai Kulemin converted a penalty shot at 9:56 of the third period in Friday's contest after being tripped on a breakaway. Prior to Kulemin's successful penalty shot, the Maple Leafs hadn't scored on a penalty shot since Dec. 26, 2006, when John Pohl connected against Minnesota.

Puck Drop: The Maple Leafs "are much improved from the last time we saw them and we obviously expect a tough game." -- Luongo on playing a team the Canucks have beaten eight times in a row

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